Asse, Opening II

Geneviève ASSE (1923), Opening II, 1971, diptych, oil on canvas, 194.5 x 228 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2015
Geneviève ASSE (1923), Opening II, 1971, diptych, oil on canvas, 194.5 x 228 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2015
Opening II is an oil on canvas composed of two large vertical panels hanging side by side to form an indivisible whole. The symmetrical composition initially appears to be a sober and rigorous geometric abstraction: two vertical blue bands framing two white rectangles. A narrow horizontal band runs along the upper part of each panel, marking the passage from one to the other. The paintwork, however, differs greatly from what one might see in an artwork of theoretical abstraction like that of Mondrian, for example. Here, there are no blocks of colour delimited with clean, straight lines, but subtle blends that create varying tones of blue and white, and planes with porous borders. A vibrancy that evokes an opening onto a landscape, the elements, the sky and the sea.

Geneviève Asse steadfastly pursued this exploration of a sensitive, atmospheric abstraction throughout her career, delving into the study of space and light. The concept of opening in the title holds double meaning: opening onto a pictorial landscape within the space formed by the two canvasses; the very real opening of the diptych with its two sections on either side of the dividing line, which implies the possibility of closure, of the other side left to the viewer's imagination.

A native of Brittany, Geneviève Asse began her artistic career in 1940, alongside major artists of that generation such as Poliakoff, Bram and Geer van Velde, Lanskoy, and Nicolas de Staël, among others.  From the studio scenes and still lifes in neutral monochromes of the 1950s, she evolved in the 1960s toward more abstract investigations, with her use of the “Asse blue” growing increasingly pervasive until it became her single colour of choice, emblematic of her life's work.

Works acquired in 2014 (3)

Sylvestre MEINZER, In the Service of Clouds, 2013, photogram (video). © MuMa Le Havre / Sylvestre Meinzer
Jem SOUTHAM (1950), Senneville-sur-Fécamp, "The Rockefalls of Normandy" series, 2007, colour photograph. © MuMa Le Havre / Jem Southam
Geneviève ASSE (1923), Opening II, 1971, diptych, oil on canvas, 194.5 x 228 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2015